The Ninety-Nine

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? . . . When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’” Luke 15:4-6 NASB

We can imagine how Elizabeth Clephane identified with the lost sheep in the parable told by Jesus. Born in 1830 in Edinburgh, Scotland, she often battled sicknesses, even as a child, and was known to be frail. But her family encouraged compassion for others, giving of their resources to help the needy.

Inspired by this compassion and Jesus’ story about the lost sheep, she wrote a poem, describing the “ninety and nine that safely lay in the shelter of the fold. But one was out on the hills away, far off from the gates of gold.”

Even though most of His sheep were safe, the Shepherd could not rest. One of His own had “wandered away” and was “sick and helpless and ready to die.” He felt compelled to go find this sheep, even if this meant going on roads that were “rough and steep.” Even if this required traveling through lonely deserts, crossing deep waters, or searching in the darkness of night. The Shepherd could only rest when that lost sheep was found.

While visiting Scotland with Dwight Moody in 1874, Ira Sankey saw this poem in a newspaper. When Moody asked Sankey to write a song for their crusade, he used Elizabeth’s words for the first of what would be a series of inspired hymns.

Today, many lost “sheep” need Jesus. Ask God to give you compassion and a burden for the Lost. Don’t be complacent, but give that they might be saved.


Prayer: Father, give me a burden to reach Souls with the Gospel. I dedicate my life to You. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.